Six Budget-friendly Things To Do In Cape Town, South Africa

March 30, 2019

by Zamokuhle Vanessa

Cape Town, home to the glorious Table Mountain, is one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations. Having lived there for six years during my university years, I can attest to why it’s a go-to destination. As one of South Africa’s epicentres of the colonial and apartheid historical events as well as its coastal geographical location, Cape Town provides a comprehensive experiential package in the activities it offers. Additionally, compared to fast-paced life in some parts of South Africa, the tranquil energy exuded by Cape Town makes it the perfect destination for relaxation and being one with nature. While Cape Town is known for its luxurious “old money” lifestyle, having lived there as a student meant that I had to acquaint myself with some budget-friendly yet thrilling expenditures. I have found that apart from the plethora of inexpensive activities that one can engage in while in Cape Town, the critical thing to set the tone for a budget-friendly adventure in Cape Town, is to find accommodation in the city centre. Since Cape Town beaches provide fantastic scenery and beach life experience, most tourists usually find it more exciting staying close to the beach. However, thrilling as that may be, if you are on a budget, there are more benefits to staying in the city centre than what meets the eye. Staying in the city centre not only lowers your accommodation costs, but it also reduces your local travel costs to tourist sights. So, once you are all set with your accommodation in the city centre, here are six budget-friendly things to do in the beautiful and exuberant city of Cape Town.

1. Explore Long Street.

I suppose it’s a widely known rule amongst travellers that the first thing to do when travelling to a new city is signing up for a free walking tour. This rule is especially true when you are exploring the Cape Town city centre as it will help you to get acquainted with the area since most of the streets are narrow and very similar to each other. However, the real vibrant cultural Capetonian city walk treasures are on Long Street. Anything that fancies your liking from night-life activities, coffee and ice-cream cafés, vegan-friendly restaurants, vintage clothing stores, to street markets, you can be sure find on Long Street. One of the most famous restaurants on Long Street is Eastern Food Bizarre, an inexpensive Asian fusion canteen style eatery which caters for both vegetarians and halal dishes amongst various meat-based dishes.

2. Visit the District Six Museum and Bo Kaap Museum.

South Africa has a rich history filled with both gloomy and triumphant events. When I first visited the district six museums, I was reminded of the courage and tenacity that the South African heroes had during the apartheid era. These museums bring to life the various stories about life before, during, and after the apartheid era. Visiting District Six and Bo Kaap museum as well as Robben island (although it’s a bit more on the pricey side) will give you the opportunity to commemorate the fallen heroes who fought for freedom as well as to stand in solidary with those who still suffer from the effects of the past.

3. Visit Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.

In my opinion, there is probably no better way to spend a weekend in Cape Town than to be at the Old Biscuit Mill. If you are keen on exploring what South African creatives (in music, art, photography, clothing designers, décor) have to offer then Old Biscuit Mill is the place for you. Or if you are like me and you’re not so much into clubbing on Long Street, but you love spending your weekends listening to good music, enjoying good company while partaking in delicious local food and drinks, then this place is also for you. Either way, Old Biscuit Mill is a vibe! It’s an excellent way to experience yet again the vibrant cultural Capetonian lifestyle.

4. Hike up Lions Head or Table Mountain.

One of the most beautiful things about Cape Town is that the splendour of its nature sums up all your experiences. What better way to take in all the beautify than at the top of Lions Head? For the adrenalin junkie, this one is for you. From my experience, the hike isn’t easy, but it is well worth it. If hiking isn’t of your liking, you too can still take in all the beauty but from Table Mountain by using the cableway (although it’s also on the pricey end for a low travel budget).

5. Rent a bike with Up Cycles V&A Waterfront.

It goes without saying that Cape Town is all about beach life! So, how about stopping at the V&A Waterfront which is situated in South Africa’s oldest working harbour, to experience the scenery and enjoy a deliciously prepared meal before setting out to rent an Up Cycles Bike for a ride along the coast. Up Cycles Bike rental duration ranges from one hour to a full day; they also provide an easy to read map with various designated cycling routes, the map also indicates the different bike drop off locations for your convenience.

6. Summer concerts at Kirstenbosch gardens.

Visiting Cape Town in summer is probably one of the best decisions you can make for several reasons. Firstly, the weather is a bit less unpredictable (although it’s always a good idea to bring a windbreaker jacket along). The second reason is that you get an opportunity to enjoy picnics underneath the summers sky while watching a live summer concert (between November and April) or a movie at the open-air cinema in the evening at the Kirstenbosch gardens. Kirstenbosch is a national botanical garden that houses five of the six different biomes in South Africa. It’s also known for the Tree Top Canopy Walkway that provides another high-level view scenery of Cape Town and its an excellent spot for taking beautiful photographs.


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Nokulunga Maziya

July 6, 2019

I love it, cannot wait to visit ?